Taylor Swift made Grammys history Sunday by winning her fourth Album of the Year prize, the most of any artist — the crowning moment of a night of electric performances and breakthrough wins.
In taking home the honor at the 66th annual Grammys in Los Angeles, Swift surpassed the likes of Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder, industry greats she previously had been tied with.
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It’s a cherry on top for the 34-year-old, who is already one of music’s blockbuster stars.
“For me, the award is the work,” Swift said, who earlier in the night announced she would drop a new album on April 19. “I love it so much.”
“It makes me unbelievably blown away that it makes some people happy who voted for this award too.”
Swift however lost two other top prizes she was up for.
Record of the Year honors went to Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” and the prize for Song of the Year, which honors songwriting, went to Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell for “What Was I Made For?” from the “Barbie” soundtrack.
“This award is amazing but I really hope it doesn’t change anything because my life was beautiful yesterday,” Cyrus said onstage as she accepted her prize, her second of the evening — and the second of her career.
“Not everyone in the world will get a Grammy, but everyone in this world is spectacular, so please don’t think that this is important.”
The already decorated Eilish was equally humble in accepting her prize, saying: “I just want to say everyone in this category, like — that was a crazy list of incredible people, incredible artists, incredible music!”
And Victoria Monet won the coveted Grammy for Best New Artist, her third prize of the evening.
Monet entered the night with seven nominations, including one for Record of the Year, after her debut studio album “Jaguar II” sparked a commercial breakthrough following years in the industry.
“Thank you to the champagne servers of tonight. That’s my first thank you,” Monet told the audience, also thanking her mother.
– ‘Feel very seen’ –
A clean sweep of the top awards for women was a triumph for the Recording Academy, which has been working for years against criticism that it heavily favors white men.
“As a woman, it feels a lot of the time like you’re not being seen… this makes me feel very seen,” Eilish told journalists backstage, when asked what the banner year for women meant to her going forward.
“Sometimes it feels really good to, like, have somebody telling you ‘good job’.”
This year, just one man, the jazz polymath Jon Batiste, was up for Album and Record of the Year; he left the gala empty-handed.
Top nominee SZA, who entered the night with nine nods, seized three total prizes, including Best R&B Song, Best Progressive R&B Album and Best Pop Duo or Group Performance with Phoebe Bridgers.
She burst onto the stage in a fluster to claim her Best R&B Song prize, telling the crowd she had just finished changing following her sizzling performance.
“I’m just really overwhelmed,” she said. “You don’t really understand, I came really, really far and I can’t believe this is happening.”
Karol G won the prize for Best Musica Urbana Album for “Manana Sera Bonito” — recognition that some industry watchers said wasn’t enough given that Latinos were excluded this year from the major categories.
– Joni, Tracy deliver classic performances –
The broadcast gala — in which just nine competitive awards were presented — followed the hours-long pre-show, in which the vast majority of the more than 90 gramophones were distributed.
The supergroup boygenius cleaned up in the rock categories.
Bridgers, Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker — the members of boygenius — were giddy with delight as they ran onstage to accept three trophies.
Music from the film “Barbie” had 11 chances at Grammy gold, and ultimately took home three, two of them thanks to Eilish.
The rapper Killer Mike won big in the rap categories, taking home three trophies for music off his album “Michael.”
“I consciously set out to tell the story of a young Black boy growing up on the west side of Atlanta so that the world can see that our narrative isn’t just victimization and losing, but we can win, we can thrive and prosper,” he told journalists backstage.
But his wins were overshadowed by his reported detention at the venue. The Los Angeles Police Department did not immediately respond to a query from AFP about the situation.
Joni Mitchell beamed as she accepted the honor for best folk album for “Joni Mitchell At Newport,” a live recording of her performance at the storied festival that came just years after an aneurysm led to fears she might never play again.
Along with Tracy Chapman’s moving performance of her 1988 classic “Fast Car” with Luke Combs, Mitchell delivered one of the most moving performances of the night, bringing some in the audience to tears with her rendition of “Both Sides Now.”